One of the great things Modernist cooking does for home cooks is allow them to make foods that they normally can only get in stores. Our recipe for fruit leather also lets home cooks play with flavors, like we have in our Mango Chili recipe below.
This recipe is a variation of our Tomato Leather recipe. We also have other variations of fruit leather, and even onion leather, in our book, Modernist Cuisine at Home. In the Tomato Leather recipe as well as in other variations, you need to add 0.2% xanthan gum, but due to the high levels of pectin found naturally in mangoes, you dont need additional thickeners when making Mango Chili Leather.
Sam Fahey-Burke, Development Chef
Tips & Substitutions:
- The oil in this recipe prevents the leather from sticking to your teeth; the more oil you use, the more tender and supple the resulting leather.
- Use fresh chilies for this recipe. You can find red Thai chilies in most grocery stores and specialty Asian stores.
- Finely dice the chilies. You can puree them with the rest of the ingredients, or add them to the pureed mixture. If you choose the latter option, make sure that you dice the chilies as finely as possible. They should not be larger than the final thickness of the leather.
- The pureed mixture in this recipe may be more watery than the tomato leather and other variations.
- The recipe for Tomato Leather and its variations recommend using xanthan gum, but because mangoes naturally have high amounts of pectin, xanthan gum is not needed for this recipe.
- Spread the mixture onto a nonstick surface, such as a Silpat mat or dehydrator mat to a thickness of 2 mm / 1/16 in.
- Wax paper will not work as a nonstick surface because the puree will be wet and sticky, which can make the wax paper soggy, causing the leather to stick to it.
- Dry the mixture in a food dehydrator (we like Excaliber brand). Alternatively, you can use your oven, set to its lowest temperature. Dehydrating time depends on how low your oven goes, so before you dehydrate any foods its a good idea to calibrate your oven.
- Keep your dehydrator in the least humid and best ventilated part of your kitchen.
- We love our food dehydrator. In Modernist Cuisine at Home, we also use it to puff pork and chicken skin and to make Dried Caramelized Onions. In Modernist Cuisine, we use dehydrators to make interesting things like garlic chips, crystallized rose petals, and spinach paper.
- To store the leather, roll it into a single layer of waxed paper and seal it in plastic wrap.